What prompted this reflection?
This morning I received an online greeting from a student I taught back about 30 years ago, at a high school in Petersburg Virginia. She wrote:
I cannot tell you how many times I have thought of you over the years. I am glad to hear that you are doing well. I credit my love of writing to you. You seemed to take an interest and were kind enough to give a little praise. It made the biggest difference to me throughout my life.
She found me on her high school’s alumni association page. It made my day!
I have been blessed in recent years to meet several of my former students again in the flesh – now that they are married and parents of grown children. And, in turn, I have gone back to my own home town and visited one of my old teachers, and thanked him. So that makes three generations of gratitude.
Teaching is frequently a thankless job, simply because students are so involved in their own lives that they are not yet able to appreciate the work of their teachers. We teachers don’t expect to be thanked, and are immensely gratified when someone shows up after thirty or forty years to say that they remember .